I wrote this for my fellow students at University of Phoenix and placed it on our social site for Alumni and students. i thought I would share it here. Some of it may make no sense whatsoever to the casual reader, and I apologize. For those who are considering UofP or are starting UofP, or hell, any one trying to go back to school after many years separation: take notes. It may sound like an excerpt from Chicken Soup for the Soul, but this is what I used to get me through, and just maybe, it might help to keep you on track as well.-BS
Only my electives remain.
Which means that a journey I started in 1995, stopped in 1997, started again in ’98 halted in ’99 then started again in ’08 to finally finish this year is all but over.
After ten years in the Army, one tech school and two colleges counting this one, I’m finally completing my Bachelors degree. I achieved my Associates in 2009.
It’s been a mess, a struggle as it were. A long road.
However Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote “…to leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” I live by that quote as much as I can. Leave something behind.
As such here is what I can pass on to those starting their learning or those who may be struggling. As a lover of philosophy, I found many to assist me along my way.
- “Begin–to begin is half the work, let half still remain; again begin this, and thou wilt have finished.” – Marcus Aurelius.
Don’t overwhelm yourself. If you have a paper that is large in assignment, or is challenging, or perhaps you’re just suffering from writers block that day. Do a little. Walk away. Come back. Do the rest, Like you would eat an elephant, one bite at a time.
- “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step”-Confucius
Don’t put off your work until the last minute. Start on it. Even if your just getting the APA formatting started on Tuesday and you don’t write the paper until Thursday, start on it. When you have started something most folks will tend to want to finish it. Whereas if you never start it you will keep finding reasons to put it off.
- “Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong as its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away”.- Marcus Aurelius.
Make time. Time can be your worse enemy. We have lives, jobs, friends, families. We have movies to watch, parties to attend, paying work that needs to be completed. It is easy to put off a visit to a simple website. What is not easier to do is to accomplish the goal of your degree. Make time. Even if it means sacrificing your lunch break at work, or putting off going to the lake party one more hour. Make time.
- “We are more often treacherous through weakness than through calculation”. -Francois De La Rochefoucauld.
Don’t cheat. It’s not worth it. The integrity you violate is more than just your own. While you speak to the caliber of person you are, you also violate the trust your team mates are putting in you. Believe me that reputation will follow you to your other classes at some point. I have found there is no assignment that can not be completed or overcome by simply allowing yourself more time to work on it. Yes you may miss the opening of the latest Harry Potter film. But it will still be in the theater next week.
- “If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky?” ~Stanislaw J. Lec.
You have a team. Use them. My last two teams have been beyond phenomenal and we did not concentrate on only our team assignments but we helped study for our individual assignments as well. Use your teams strengths, ask questions. Be helpful. You may have an answer some one else does not. Your team is not limited to only your team work. There is no regulation that says you can not study or work together.
- “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” -James Thurber.
Listen to your team. Read some of the DQ posts made by others. You may be surprised to learn that never everyone is a 6 year old disguised as a 33 year old high school graduate who can not comprehend basic English. Some of your classmates are highly intelligent and may offer you ideas. Admittedly, some won’t. However, some of my best papers came from ideas other people thought of in the DQ discussions, their answers intrigued me and I researched it. Don’t assume just because you have lived it, you know the answer. There is always another solution.
- “Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases.” -Hippocrates.
Your team Charter is your guide. Make it strong. Set deadlines. Set punishments. Outline actions you intend to take if your team mates do not pull their weight. That team charter is your defense against slacking, plagiarism, and anything else that may befall you. Failure to use your team charter really means you haven’t been paying attention in class.
- “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness” -Dalai Lama.
Be kind. You may feel with all your being that you are right. You may know it. You may assert it. But remember your fellow students are your peers. Your co workers are your peers. You may not like them but you have to work with them, and if you want to succeed you need to overcome those differences. The easiest way to do that? Be kind. Be polite. Do your part. No reason to antagonize a already stressful situation. Breathe deep, do your best, be polite and let the chips fall where they may.
- “If you fail to honor your people,They will fail to honor you; It is said of a good leader that When the work is done, the aim fulfilled, The people will say, “We did this ourselves”- Lao Tzu
Most of us have a back of the class mentality. We do not want to be a leader of men or women. We want to do our assignment, live our life, do our job and go home at night. Period. However sometimes if you want to succeed, you have to pick up the mantle. Do not be afraid. It is a little thing to organize the work. Do what needs to be done, succeed, and be proud of yourself later.
- “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”.-Aristotle
Agree to Disagree. Everyone here has different ideals, philosophies, religions, morals and views on life. If we all came from a Xerox copier lets face it, the world would be pretty boring. Respect the fact that someone may see something different than you do. You don’t have to agree with them, you don’t even have to like their view or the person themselves. But given the amount of apathy in the world respect the fact they have a position, and move on to something else.
- “I will show you fear in a handful of dust” – T.S. Eliot.
In everything we do we have fear. Fear of crossing the street. Fear of driving at night. Fear for our children, our welfare and our futures. The key is to control that fear. Do not fear your education, do not fear your endeavor to better yourself. Find strength in your successes. Find a bit of wisdom or grace in the things you can not change. Learn lessons from your failures. Work harder. Study longer. You are in control of your own destiny, and the choices you make will determine your success. Do not fear this, instead wallow in it, bury yourself in your education and strive to do your best!
- “Indeed in general I hold that there is nothing truer than happiness, and nothing happier and sweeter than truth”. – Gottfried Leibniz.
Your dedication will be rewarded. Your time here is fleeting in comparison to the world you can go forth and change. Your life may not be altered in anyway whatsoever…save for the knowledge that you rose above…you succeeded where others failed. You chose the higher road, to be something and do something. To undertake a challenge that others have decided they could not or some may have said you could not do. Do not let the challenges of the world, the lack of jobs, the economy, rob you of this victory.
You came, you saw, you conquered.
Be happy. For now we come full circle. Start at the top once again. For now you have your degree. you must rise above the world, your peers, you must aim for that goal of a better job, a better life. A new way to fly. Do not be discouraged. Time heals all things. Keep pace. Make time for yourself. make time for your dedications. But above all again, savor your victory.
I hope this helps some of you, in some way or another. If nothing else know that you are not alone. For after all you are but one student in the masses of students, all with the same goal. Look to each other. Let the other things fall to the way side. Work to your goals.
I hope to see you all at the finish line.